The Opposition People’s National Party (PNP), in recognition of Diaspora Day, is today (June 16) celebrating the massive overseas population for being the country’s “unpaid ambassadors”.
Constituting 36.1 per cent of the domestic population, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in 2018, some 1.3 million Jamaican-born persons living abroad, mostly in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada.
The PNP, in a statement on Friday, noted that the inextricable link between the Diaspora and the island is a thriving pillar of its continued development.
“In 2004, the administration of P.J. Patterson called together Jamaicans from around the Globe and convened the first biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference in Kingston.
At that conference, the decision was taken to set aside a day to honour Jamaicans who reside overseas – the Diaspora Day. Since establishing a mechanism to formally recognise the estimated three million Jamaicans who live outside the geographic borders of the country, Jamaica has held bi-annual Diaspora Conferences.
It cannot be overstated how important Jamaicans in the Diaspora are to our country. They are our unpaid ambassadors who demonstrate our characteristics of hard work and perseverance all over the world. Whether it is Jamaicans who travelled to the United Kingdom during the Windrush era, the farmer who went overseas on the agricultural “Farm Work” programme to make a life for himself in America, or the person who migrated to be with family – we are all Jamaicans, regardless of where we reside.
The remittances that Jamaicans overseas continue to provide to family and friends in Jamaica are an invaluable contribution to the Jamaican economy. However, equally important are the contributions made by individual Jamaicans and Diaspora groups who provide a wide array of ongoing philanthropic support to every corner of Jamaica. Whether it is the alumni associations that take care of their alma maters, the nurses and doctors who return on medical missions, or the community groups that ensure their old neighbourhoods are not forgotten, we appreciate and honour your love of your country.
Jamaica and her Diaspora are inextricably interwoven, and the pride that is felt at home when a Jamaican overseas excels is the familial link that we share. We recognise the sacrifices and often difficult adjustments that are required when a Jamaican leaves home to make a life elsewhere, and we are grateful for the continued support for your homeland.
Today, we salute you and your successes abroad and commend you for continuing to be a positive and respected influence on the characteristics of your adopted homes. Happy Diaspora Day 2023.